Incarceration rates vary by race/ethnicity.

MA_Rates_2010_from_Prison_policy_project

The Prison Policy Initiative has compiled incarceration rates by race/ethnicity using data from the 2010 census. Their graphic above shows wide contrasts in Massachusetts.

While Massachusetts’ white and black incarceration rates are low among states, its black rate is 6 times its white rate. The black-white incarceration rate disparity is wider than the black-white poverty rate disparity — the white poverty rate in the 2007-2011 period in Massachusetts was 8.3%, as compared to 21.1% for blacks and 29.9% for Hispanics. See Census Report: Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 2007–2011.

Massachusetts’ Hispanic rate is above the median among states, but Massachusetts’ 1:4 white-Hispanic incarceration rate disparity is roughly equal to its white-Hispanic poverty rate disparity. As the Hispanic share of the Massachusetts resident population has grown from 1% in 1970 to almost 10% in 2010, the Hispanic share of the state prison population has grown from nil in the 70s to 26% of the total in 2015.

We have replicated the Prison Policy Initiative computations for each state in the table below.

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Persons in adult correctional facilities per 100,000 residents by state and race/ethnicity -- 2010 Census

 WhiteHispanicBlack
Alabama5357671788
Alaska3706501294
Arizona63314533184
Arkansas5939152432
California4537573036
Colorado50912803651
Connecticut24111952260
Delaware4142502002
District of Columbia505261031
Florida6265362555
Georgia64010992036
Hawaii4124151032
Idaho65610263252
Illinois2584722128
Indiana5427812814
Iowa3246923473
Kansas4188733306
Kentucky70516573545
Louisiana67511142748
Maine2594071553
Maryland3103111437
Massachusetts2419281502
Michigan3745882169
Minnesota2169592321
Mississippi60048691788
Missouri4956542337
Montana4239943601
Nebraska2828672452
Nevada6046352624
New Hampshire3369542241
New Jersey2186091992
New Mexico6599802609
New York2196071655
North Carolina3574911664
North Dakota24510321671
Ohio42210722336
Oklahoma76718763796
Oregon5068093195
Pennsylvania37520013269
Rhode Island2106961884
South Carolina43312051996
South Dakota50817274663
Tennessee5025951962
Texas7689722855
Utah3678322711
Vermont2208912214
Virginia4664822418
Washington3926012372
West Virginia62245857360
Wisconsin4166224042
Wyoming53210593075
Puerto Rico590344613
State-by-state incarceration demographics based on 2010 census data, File SF-1, Table 42, prepared by Anne Landry reproducing methodology of Prison Policy Initiative.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.

2 replies on “Incarceration rates vary by race/ethnicity.”

  1. The disparity between races incarcerated cannot insinuate incarceration prejudice without a study of the percentages of crimes committed by each race or ethnicity. I would also like to see results of a study of how many illegal aliens are incarcerated in Mass and at what cost.

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